Laos is becoming an increasingly important part of the tourism and transport chain in south-east Asia and should aim to become a tourist destination unlike any other. Lao National Tourism Administration (LNTA) predicted that Laos will have 4.1 million tourists by 2020 however the tourists volume was down with 886K in 2020. Laos government closed international borders in April 2020 due to the pandemic, and tourism is negatively impacted until today.
Laos is the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia. Laos Development Group, Inc. and Laos Minerals Mining, Inc mentioned that “Vientiane, the capital of Laos, is a hub for tourism, industrial development and considerable economic expansion”. There are limited hotels in Laos reporting to STR, and only 84 properties participated in the STR data. 42.8% of the hotels are located in Luang Prabang, followed by 32.29% in Vientiane and least number of hotels in the city of Phonsavan. Green Park Boutique Hotel is a luxury hotel located in Vientiane and The Apsara is an Upper Upscale class hotel located in Luang Prabang.
There are 16.67% hotels in Planning and Final Planning stages according to the Laos Pipeline STR reports. Furthermore, 66.67% of hotels are In-Construction phase, and half of the hotels In-Construction phase are located in Vientiane. The parent company of majority of the In-Construction phase hotels are Centara Hotels & Resorts.
The average occupancy was 55.4% in 2019 followed by 27.6% in 2020 and 17.8% in 2021. The average ADR was 758K Laotian Kip (LAK) for 2019 and saw a decrease in average ADR of 596K LAK in 2020 and 527K LAK in 2021. If you plot the revenue by year as shown in the graph below, the revenue in 2020 was 24 Billion LAK, and you can see the drastic drop in revenue with around 12 Billion LAK in 2021, however the figures for 2022 year to date are increasing. There is a discrepancy in the revenue with the Tourism Development Department website as it is mentioned that the revenue was 213 Million LAK in 2020.
The demand% change from previous years indicates that there was a -48.9 change from 2019 to 2020. Similarly, a -35.5 change from 2020 to 2021. Tourism creates significant economic development in Laos. The country is rich in cultural and natural tourist resources. There are 45 natural sites, 24 cultural sites, and 15 historical sites in Vientiane capital and 171 natural site, 25 cultural sites and 4 historical sites in Vientiane Province. The Tourism marketing department should promote Laos for its mountainous beauty and its rich history, traditions, and culture to attract pre-pandemic tourist arrivals. Travel packages and destination management promotion will bring people back!
Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Hospitality and Retail Management at Texas Tech University
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Texas Tech University